This week's Councillor Column is written by Graham Hardie, Liberal Democrat councillor for Helensburgh Central.

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My personal sentiments about public transport can be summoned up by this quote by the American actress Hong Chau: “I love public transportation! Who wants to sit in a car and be angry at other drivers for eight hours? I’d rather sit on a bus or a train and read a book.”

Thus it was an honour and a privilege to be asked by Argyll and Bute Council to be their representative on the Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) board and the Strathclyde Concessionary Travel Joint Committee.

I often use public transport locally, getting the bus or the train into Helensburgh and Glasgow, using the service to Oban from Helensburgh Upper and getting a bus to Kilcreggan to access the ferry to Gourock.

The majority of the time, my experiences have been pleasant and positive and the quality of the service on offer is reliable and systematic.

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Between 2019 and 2020 SPT has awarded funding through their Capital Programme Investment of £200,000 to take forward several projects in the Helensburgh and Lomond in 2019-20.

These are a package of bus infrastructure improvements, including accessibility measures, and bus improvements including shelters, lining and bus cages.

Also, the money will be used for the continued development of the Helensburgh and Lomond cycleways.

SPT supports five local bus services in the Helensburgh and Lomond area including services to the Vale of Leven Hospital, Royal Alexandra Hospital and rural towns and villages.

For more information on these bus routes please look online at

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Furthermore, SPT MyBus services in Helensburgh and Lomond provide support for people who find using mainstream transport challenging, and carried 1,400 passengers in 2017/18.

The Strathclyde Concessionary Travel Scheme (SCTS) is administered by SPT on behalf of 12 councils through the Scheme’s Joint Committee. SCTS is supplementary to the National Bus Scheme and offers discounted travel on rail, Subway and ferry services.

Argyll and Bute residents saved an estimated £1.6 million on rail and ferry travel through the Strathclyde Concessionary scheme, while SPT processed 915 National Entitlement Card (NEC), applications or renewals on behalf of Argyll and Bute Council and handled 5,200 enquires on NECs from Argyll and Bute residents.

Thus SPT as an organisation offers a comprehensive and substantial service within Helensburgh and Lomond, and I have found working with its employees and fellow councillors a rewarding experience.

Finally, season’s greetings to all readers and my constituents.

READ MORE: Catch up with all the latest Helensburgh and Lomond news headlines here